CHRIS BUTLER: FROM SECTIONS TO THE YACHT CLUB
Born in 1932 in the suburb of Bethnal Green in the East End of London, Chris Butler survived pneumonia and the Blitz, the bombing raids launched by the Luftwaffe between September 1940 and May 1941 to destroy the morale of its inhabitants. If the war interfered with his education, Chris still managed to remain in education until 1947.
At 15 years old and by the recommendation of his teacher he began his career in industrial design. He loved motorcycles and he equipped his bikes with GRP products of his own design and manufacture, which led to the creation in 1957 of Butler Mouldings Limited.
He set up works in Hackney but he soon outgrew the premises, moving to Haverhill in Suffolk. BML then had 10 glorious years until 1968, which proved to be more difficult. In addition, after 20 years of pleasure as a motorcyclist, the numerous injuries especially to his right knee led to Chris hanging up his completion bib.
As he lay recuperating in his hospital bed he had a revelation as he read ‘Yachts and Yachting’, which he discussed with his wife Georgina. BML re-launched itself as a manufacturer of GRP boat hulls. Starting with a small series of dinghies, Chris expanded his business during the 1980s to produce racing yachts (Achilles, 24, 9M and 840) for transatlantic competitions. His models were a success but he was not content with just their manufacture; Chris had lost none of his competitor’s spirit, and found he had a certain talent!
In 1979 he took the class 2 win in the transatlantic race to the Azores and back (AZAB). In 1984 he finished 7th in the Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic race (OSTAR). On his boat Swansea Bay in the 25 to 30M class he arrived only a few hours behind some very well known names. Chris Butler no longer rides motorcycles and the rigours of sailing has led to a new passion in life, that of classical music.